A few thoughts on resumes

January 3, 2011 | By

Some of the resume tips I’m about to list may seem like common sense to many of you, but we can always use a refresher, even when it comes to the most basic of guidelines.  So, after looking at hundreds of resumes, here are the reminders for which I see a great need for review.

• Keep your resume on one page.  I know this is hard for people with 10+ years of experience, and there are certainly exceptions to this rule, but remember, most recruiters give resumes about 14 seconds the first time through.  You want your most important information to be seen, so get it on one page to ensure nothing is overlooked.
• Unless you are still in college or have graduated within the last year, always list your education at the bottom of the page.
• Do not list your high school information on your resume unless you are creating one while you are still in high school.

• Be consistent with punctuation.  Either use periods at the end of each line or don’t.  Just decide on one format and stick with it.
• Do NOT put a picture of yourself on your resume.  It’s not a good idea, don’t do it.
• Line your dates up on the right-hand side of the document.  And be sure they are all aligned and consistent.  This makes your resume much easier to read in that first 14 seconds.

• List the organization, company, or office you worked/work for first, and list your title in that office directly below.  Use bold or italics to differentiate between the place and the title, but always use the same font.  That goes for your entire document.  Nothing screams lack of attention to detail like two or three different font types and sizes in one resume.
• Keep it simple.  Use the standard bullet to list your responsibilities, accomplishments, and successes under each title you have had or currently have.  Resist the urge to use fancy diamond, rectangular, or heart-shaped bullets.  The standard black dots will suffice.
• Use the whole page.  Recruiters do not like to see a lot of white space on a resume.  You have one 8 by 11 ½ page to sell yourself to a potential employer.  So use all the space you have.

• In direct contrast to the bullet above, do not use microscopic font.  Anything smaller than 11 is too small, and often recruiters won’t bother to read the resume if they have to squint to see what is on the page.
• Finally, in your bullets under each place of employment, list your successes and accomplishments rather than just your responsibilities.  Quantify your results at each organization or office.  Numbers jump out on the page and are proof that you were an asset to that particular employer. 

I could go on, but I’ll save that for another post.  Happy resume building!